Finding the best way to limit the impact of your wardrobe can be a minefield.
Knowing where to start, what choices to make and who to trust can make taking that first step into the world of eco-fashion a daunting process.
Elizabeth Laskar, eco-fashion consultant, co-founder of the Ethical Fashion Forum and co-creator of a new biodegradable jewellery line Crumple Design, took RTCC through her top tips for anyone wanting to be more sustainable when they shop.
1) Go Organic
Organic clothing can include materials such as silk, cotton, linen, hemp and wool. They are grown using natural pesticides and methods such as intercropping to help biodiversity. Organic materials are largely rain-fed – a much less water intensive process than other methods of watering.
2) Buy Fairtrade
Fairtrade is about better price, decent working conditions and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Clothing which is fair-trade will often carry the FAIRTRADE Mark.
“If you have a bit of cash you have the option the next time you go and buy something, to buy something organic, buy something fairtrade – keep an eye on the sales too, that is always an added bonus of shopping online,” recommends Laskar.
Recycling is as simple as sharing your clothes says Laskar:
“You don’t necessarily have to go and spend money to be eco,” she says. “So if money is the thing for a consumer there are different ways for people to go eco such as recycling. That is the easiest way not to spend money. So organise something with your friends where you can refresh your wardrobe. Do a clothes swapping party, have your friends over for a nice cup of tea and cake and do a wardrobe swap.”
“Upcycling is about transforming your clothing or the other clothing that would have gone into landfill,” says Laskar.
“The other one I like is called a friend co-op, where you literally put ten quid in each between say six friends and if you are about the same size you go out and you buy a party dress together. The idea is that you are all going to wear that party dress at some point during the year and also make a pact that you are going to share it as well. So it is just looking at innovative ways of doing something. So something like that would be an easy and efficient way of not spending too much money.”
5) Go Vintage
Vintage fashion is essentially second-hand fashion that comes from a different era, and it has gathered momentum in recent years.
“Vintage – normally slightly more expensive sometimes – but you are celebrating fashion and style that has been around for over a decade,” says Laskar.
6) New Technologies
“That’s the most amazing area and it is how we are looking at marrying technologies. And how science is marrying with fashion. It’s amazing. People are looking at new textiles and materials.”
“If a person can be part of one of those six things they can be part of a movement, a really, really good movement,” adds Laskar. “And it is not easy going out and trying to find a bit more information about whether or not something is eco.
“But nowadays if you just Google eco fashion you can come up with quite a few links. And they have really good sales so you can often pick up some good stuff. And of course biodegradable fashion!”
WIN a pair of biodegradable earrings from Crumple Design courtesy of Elizabeth Laskar! Send in a picture of your own sustainable fashion purchases and a few lines about it, we’ll publish the best on RTCC.org and the very, very best takes homes the prize! Send them in to [email protected].
Get your pictures in before the closing date on the 25th May.